SAN ANTONIO -- Bexar County Children’s Court Judge Charles Montemayor did not mince words when it came to how Child Protective Services handled 9-month-old Michael Sanchez’s case.
“Before this court got involved, there were decisions made that were irresponsible and wrong,” Montemayor said. “It’s that thinking in the short term of, ‘this is easier; this is quicker,’ that led to an ultimate tragedy.”
The baby boy was discovered dead by his grandmother. His body had been wrapped in wet blankets while he slept in his crib on October 6. The boy's siblings, 3-years-old and 20-months-old, were left home alone.
The boy’s mother was in the midst of her second CPS investigation and second family-safety plan with CPS oversight, which the judge said failed when the boy was found dead.
When asked about the judge's harsh criticism, CPS spokeswoman Mary Walker said, “Our mandate, again, it to try to strengthen the family, try to keep that child safe and secure in his or her own home. That’s exactly what these services were supposed to do — we were hoping would do — and they did … for awhile.”
Walker admitted the agency dropped the ball during the investigation when CPS failed to notify the boy's biological father that his son was dead.
The victim’s father, Michael Sanchez, Sr., is waiting to see if he can have custody, or increased visitation, with the remaining children.
“I wish CPS could learn from their mistakes for sure. That way another child doesn’t die in their hands,” Sanchez said.
The dead boy’s paternal grandparents reportedly cared for the children during the mother's first involvement with CPS, back in late 2011.
This time, the family is one of three families now vying for custody of the remaining two children currently in foster care.
Judge Montemayor told CPS he wanted the grieving children placed with relatives within one week, if possible.
Meanwhile, courtroom sources told the I-Team that the mother has been hospitalized and placed on suicide watch.
Next week, Judge Montemayor said he wants to hear the results of CPS’ home evaluations and where the agency feels the children should live.